As the days lengthen and the sun shines bright, even serious wine drinkers start thinking pink. Rosé, generally made from the juice of red wine grapes macerated for a very short time with the skins to give it color, offers the crisp refreshment of a white wine with the fruitiness of a red. It’s an ideal summer wine and extremely versatile at the table. However, one of the drawbacks to having a serious rosé habit is that much of the wine on the market is mass-produced, industrially farmed, fermented with factory-made yeast, and loaded with sulfites, artificial acidity, and who knows what else? To avoid these not particularly healthful or delicious additions to your bottle of rosé, look for wines that are organically or biodynamically farmed. Many winemakers working this way are cautious about loading their wine up with chemicals. Look for a rosé that is naturally made. Chances are the wine will be more vibrant in your glass ... and give you less of a headache when the sun rises again the next morning. Here are a few I’ll be enjoying this summer.
SULAUZE COTEAUX D’AIX-EN-PROVENCE ROSÉ ($15.99)
This Provençal rosé is pale, salmon colored in the glass, and delicate with citrus and berry notes, racy acidity, and a silken texture—it’s one of the lightest and most delicate and refreshing of the 2012 wines. It is made by a husband-and-wife team who purchased the domaine in 2004 and began systematically converting it to organic viticulture. I’ll be drinking this all summer long.
RIMBERT PETIT COCHON BRONZÉ ROSÉ ($11.88)
A forward and fruity yet dry rosé from Jean-Marie Rimbert in St-Chinian. It’s primarily cinsault, organically farmed and fermented with native yeast; the wine offers red-berry notes on the nose and juicy cranberry and cherry notes on the palate along with a pleasant hint of Languedoc funk and earth. A great, reasonably priced wine for a barbecue.
RAFFAULT CHINON ROSÉ ($16.99)
Chinon rosé, made from the peppery and zesty cabernet franc variety, delivers much of the stony liveliness and bright acidity we love in red Chinon. Pale in the glass, delicate, citrusy, and complex on the palate, this is a wine lover’s rosé that, in addition to offering refreshment on a hot day, makes a glorious pairing with fresh tomatoes.
PINON TOURAINE BRUT ROSÉ ($19.99)
With its beautiful deep pink color, lovely high-toned red-currant and strawberry aromas, and palate of ripe citrusy fruits with earth and spice, this is really delicious ... and sparkling! François Pinon is one of the great winemakers of the Loire Valley doing organic farming in the vineyards. Thank you, François, for bringing us this lovely bottle of bubbles.
DAUNY SANCERRE ROSÉ ($19.99)
Good examples of Sancerre rosé taste unmistakably like Sancerre with the crisp, citrusy, and laserlike mineral edge of those white wines. One of the best rosés of the season so far, this bottle is delicate, fragrant, and as steely and chiseled as one could want. The Dauny estate has been organic since the 1960s, and this rosé comes from its younger vines. Save a glass for the patio or the fire escape.
CIRELLI CERASUOLO ROSATO ($14.99)
Hailing from an organic farm in central Italy, this Rosato based on the Montepulciano grape variety is simultaneously gutsy and pretty. With fascinating notes of tea leaf, raspberry, and raspberry seed, the wine works well with a variety of summer meals and shows particularly well with summer herbs such as basil, tarragon, and fresh oregano. Screw cap! Easy to pop open and enjoy in the park. (Not that we’d ever do such a thing.)
Sophie Barrett is a wine buyer and manager at Chambers Street Wines in New York City.